“If we want to go to the market,” said Tarka, “I think we have to go in the canoe.” He pointed to the stream at the end of the garden, to where a small boat was moored. It was light green, oval-shaped, with two seats, one at either end. Two thick wooden oars lay across the central space.
They were hungry, but with no food in the hut, breakfast at the market was their only option. So Kim climbed into the canoe and sat on the seat at the front. Prince jumped into the middle, wagging his tail with extreme interest at the new game. Tarka climbed in to sit on the rear seat. Tarka and Kim took an oar each, untied the canoe from the wooden stakes that kept it near, and pushed off from the bank.
They thrashed around for a few minutes, not making progress. This had Kim in stitches of laughter, and Prince barking with excitement. But then, with a little coordination between them, they managed to propel the canoe forward.
The stream was quiet, and very narrow in places. Thick trees had grown roots out into the water, or had low branches and leaves that tickled the tops of their hats as they rowed past. At one point the view opened up to reveal green fields populated with herds of orsi, who shied from the bank when Prince tried to greet them.
Then Kim sat tall, sniffing the air. A hint of spices drifted downstream, carried by the wind. The market at Lumbekka was just around the corner.